Criterion will jump from towards the outside of the 2014 Hong Kong Cup field after he was allocated barrier nine at the barrier draw for the Group 1 event that will be held at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Jockey Hugh Bowman revealed yesterday that he was hoping to draw an inside barrier with Criterion, but the leading Australian hoop faces a tricky assignment settling the Sebring entire close to the rail in the early stages of the Hong Kong Cup.
Designs On Rome and Military Attack have been battling for favouritism in Hong Kong Cup betting markets in the past week, but Designs On Rome is likely to go to the top of betting after drawing ideally in barrier three.
The Holy Roman Emperor entire was forced to settle towards the tail of the field in the early stages of the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup (200m) at Sha Tin on November 23, but jockey Joao Moreira should be able to settle the four-year-old closer to the speed in the Hong Kong Cup.
Military Attack will jump from barrier eight in the Group 1 event on Sunday, but will still be considered one of the major chances in the race; with Zac Purton declaring yesterday that the Oratorio gelding is the horse to beat.
Veteran French gelding Cirrus Des Aigles is rated the leading European chance in the Hong Kong Cup and the winning chances of the Even Top gelding were enhanced after he drew barrier four.
Cirrus Des Aigles has had no success in his four previous visits to Hong Kong, with a third place finish in last year’s Hong Kong Cup his best result, but he is taking excellent form into this year’s race after taking out the Group 1 Prix Ganay (2100m), Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan (1850m) and Group 1 Coronation Cup (2423m) earlier this year.
Farraaj is the other European hope in the Hong Kong Cup and he also fared well in the barrier draw draw for the Group 1 event after drawing barrier six.
The Dubai Destination introduced himself to the Australian racing pubic with a fast-finishing in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day and he is sure to receive a better run in transit this weekend.
One galloper that did not have as much luck in the 2014 Hong Kong Club barrier draw is last start winner Blazing Speed and he will start at the outside of the field.
Blazing Speed took out both the Group 1 Stewards Cup (1600m) and Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) earlier this year and he stamped himself as one of the leading contenders for the Hong Kong Cup when he took out the Jockey Club Cup, but will need some luck from the wide draw.
California Memory (barrier 11) and Endowing (barrier ten) were other losers from the barrier draw, whiles the likes of Archimedes (barrier two), Same World (barrier five) and Helene Super Star (barrier seven) are set to get an ideal run into the race.